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Learns What'sBest!

Since our last newsletter, OR/MS Today, the magazine for members of the Institute of Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), recently took a close look at What'sBest!. One of the goals of the bi-monthly publication is to keep INFORMS members informed on issues related to optimization through news stories, feature articles, and software reviews. In their review of What'sBest!, they had plenty to say:

 

Regarding ease of use...

Since proficiency in the spreadsheet package is required to use any add-in package, the interface is already familiar and the learning curve for What'sBest! is very minimal.

 

Regarding the manual ...

Overall, I found the user manual to be very well written. I think the example models provided in the user manual are invaluable. There are 27 models altogether, including all of the standard types of linear models such as blending, multi-period inventory management, scheduling, transportation, and assignment problems, as well as several realistic integer and nonlinear models. These examples show a variety of spreadsheet layouts and labeling schemes, and do an impressive job of demonstrating the flexibility of the spreadsheet environment.

 

Regarding Help and support ...

On-line help is available to the user, and the people I spoke with in technical support were very responsive to my questions.

 

Conclusions ...

In conclusion, I give What'sBest! a high rating for both its user interface via the spreadsheet and its optimization capabilities. LINDO Systems, Inc. has a long history of developing reliable optimization software, and a commitment to supporting and enhancing that software. Combining fast, technically sound tools with spreadsheets should encourage the use of tools and help OR/MS discipline increase its visibility at the same time.

 

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